Steamboat teen center proposal tabled

City Planning Commission asks for revisions before next review April 22

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— City planning officials postponed action Thursday on a proposed addition to Howelsen Ice Arena that would provide a teen center and community space.

The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission voted, 4-0, to table the addition’s final development plan until April 22, when the city of Steam­boat Springs and Moun­tain Architecture Design Group — the project applicants — will return to the Planning Commission for another public hearing. Commission members asked for revisions to the plan to improve pedestrian access and design details. The proposal for an 11,117-square-foot, three-story addition to the ice arena includes a teen area, concessions, a game room, community space, restrooms and storage, according to city planning documents.

Planning Commissioner Kar­en Dixon asked Mountain Arch­­itecture for a layout that does more to encourage pedestrian access to the teen center, possibly through an entrance that faces Howelsen Parkway. Com­missioners Cedar Beauregard and Cindy Slavik asked for more large windows to break up unadorned walls and allow more sunlight into the addition.

“I don’t think it lives up to the standard a city building should be at,” Dixon said about the proposal.

Mountain Architecture’s Ch­­­an­cie Keenan said some design decisions were made with consideration to a possible future use of the addition — as locker room space and other amenities for an eventual second sheet of ice at Howelsen. Although Keenan emphasized that such a change in use would not occur until a new location is found for the teen center, Dixon said the addition’s design should focus on the needs of teens, rather than the needs of a future locker room with “teens stuck in there” in the interim.

“It seems apparent that you designed this … for the future, second sheet of ice,” Dixon said.

Commission Chairman Rich Levy also voted to table the plan. Planning Commissioners Jason Lacy and Brian Hanlen were absent Thursday. The commission has one vacant seat. The Planning Commission is a recommending body to the Steam­boat Springs City Council.

Keenan said Mountain Architecture Design Group received input from local teens on the design, as part of the city’s ongoing efforts to provide a permanent teen center. Plans for a teen center at Howelsen Ice Arena began to formalize in November 2008.

“We’re thankful that the City Council has recognized the void for a teen center and kept the momentum rolling on this project,” Keenan said.

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